Prof Joe Moran

Humanities and Social Science

I have been, and sort of still am, a cultural historian focusing on Britain in the very recent past. My interest was/is in the seemingly banal and uninteresting details of the everyday, what the German critic Siegfried Kracauer calls 'a life that belongs to no one and exhausts everyone'.

My books in this vein are Queuing for Beginners: The Story of Daily Life from Breakfast to Bedtime (2007), a cultural history of daily habits in Britain in the postwar years, inspired by the work of Mass Observation; On Roads: A Hidden History (2009), a circuitous journey around the British motorway system; and Armchair Nation: An Intimate History of Britain in Front of the TV (2013), the story of watching television from Baird's first demonstration in Selfridge's in 1925 to the switching off of the analogue signal in 2012.

More recently I've experimented with a more personal and essayistic non-fiction writing, particularly in Shrinking Violets: The Secret Life of Shyness (2016), First You Write a Sentence: The Elements of Reading, Writing ... and Life (2018) and If You Should Fail: A Book of Solace (2020).

Alongside my academic writing, I've written for newspapers and magazines such as the Guardian, the Financial Times, the New Statesman, Times Higher Education, BBC History Magazine, the TLS and others.

I'm interested in supervising PhDs in the following areas especially: postwar and contemporary British cultural history; histories and theories of everyday life; and contemporary writing, especially nonfiction and poetry.

I blog at and tweet @joemoransblog


1996, University of Sussex, UK, PhD
1992, University of Sussex, UK, MA, Twentieth Century English Literature
1991, University of Leeds, United Kingdom, BA Hons, International History and Politics

Academic appointments

Professor of English and Cultural History, Liverpool John Moores University, 2012 - present

Journal article

Moran J. 2021. The Scattering: A Family History for a Floating World History Workshop Journal, Public Url

Moran J. 2021. To the Anxious Humanities Scholar Critical Quarterly, Public Url

Moran J. 2018. Walking with a Purpose: The Essay in Contemporary Nonfiction Textual Practice, 32 :1277-1299 DOI Public Url

Moran J. 2015. Private Lives, Public Histories: The Diary in Twentieth-Century Britain Journal of British Studies, 54 :138-162 DOI Public Url

Moran J. 2014. Ben Pimlott Memorial Lecture 2013: ‘Vox Populi? The Recorded Voice and Twentieth-Century British History’ Twentieth Century British History, 25 :461-483 DOI Public Url

Moran J. 2014. A Cultural History of the New Nature Writing Literature and History, 23 :49-63 DOI Public Url

Moran JP. 2012. Imagining the Street in Postwar Britain Urban History, 39 :166-186 DOI

Moran JP. 2011. The Fall and Rise of the Expert Critical Quarterly, 53 :6-22 DOI

Moran JP. 2010. "Stand Up and Be Counted": Hughie Green, the 1970s and Popular Memory' History Workshop Journal, :172-198 DOI

Moran JP. 2010. The Future of Roads Soundings, :107-116 DOI

Moran JP. 2008. 'Mass Observation, Market Research and the Birth of the Focus Group, 1937-1997' Journal of British Studies, 47 :827-851 DOI

Moran J. 2007. 'Early cultures of gentrification in London, 1955-1980' Journal of Urban History, 1 :101-121 DOI

Moran J. 2007. ‘”Subtopias of Good Intentions”: Everyday Landscapes in Postwar Britain’ Cultural and Social History, 3 :401-421 DOI

Moran J. 2006. ‘Milk Bars, Starbucks and the Uses of Literacy’ Cultural Studies, 20 :552-573 DOI

Moran J. 2006. ‘Crossing the Road in Britain, 1931-1976’ Historical Journal, 49 :477-496 DOI

Moran J. 2005. ‘Queuing Up in Postwar Britain’ Twentieth Century British History, 16 :283-305 DOI

Moran J. 2005. ‘The Strange Birth of Middle England’ The Political Quarterly, 76 :232-240 DOI

Moran J. 2004. ‘Housing, Memory and Everyday Life in Contemporary Britain’ Cultural Studies, 18 :607-627 DOI

Moran J. 2004. ‘November in Berlin: The End of the Everyday’ History Workshop Journal, :214-233 DOI

Moran J. 2004. ‘History, Memory and the Everyday’ Rethinking History, 8 :51-68 DOI

Moran J. 2003. 'Benjamin and Boredom' Critical Quarterly, 45 DOI

Moran J. 2002. ‘Childhood, Class and Memory in the Seven Up Films’ Screen, 43 :387-402 DOI

Moran J. 2002. ‘Tom Phillips and the Art of the Everyday’ Visual Culture in Britain, 3 :17-32

Moran J. 2002. 'Childhood and Nostalgia in Contemporary Culture' European Journal of Cultural Studies, 5 :155-173 DOI

Moran J. 2002. ‘F.R. Leavis, English and the University’ English, 51 :155-173 DOI

Moran J. 2001. ‘Aging and Identity in Dementia Narratives’ Cultural Values, 5 :245-260 DOI

Moran J. 2001. ‘Childhood Sexuality and Education: The Case of Section 28’ Sexualities, 4 DOI

Moran J. 2000. ‘John Updike’s Self-Consciousness and Literary Fame’ a/b: Auto/biography Studies, 15 DOI

Moran J. 2000. ‘Out of the East: James Fenton and Contemporary History’ Literature and History, 9 :53-68 DOI

Moran J. 2000. ‘Artists and Verbal Mechanics: Martin Amis’s The Information’ Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 41 :307-317 DOI

Moran J. 2000. ‘Don DeLillo and the Myth of the Author-Recluse’ Journal of American Studies, 34 :137-152 DOI

Moran J. 1999. ‘Primitivism and Authenticity in Bruce Chatwin’s Travel Writing’ Prose Studies, 22 :356-369 DOI

Moran J. 1999. ‘“Simple Words”: Peter Ackroyd’s Autobiography of Oscar Wilde’ Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, 22 :356-369 DOI

Moran J. 1998. ‘Cultural Studies and Academic Stardom’ International Journal of Cultural Studies, 1 :67-82 DOI

Moran J. 1997. ‘The Role of Multimedia Conglomerates in American Trade Book Publishing’ Media, Culture and Society, 19 :441-455 DOI

Moran J. 1995. ‘The Author as a Brand Name: American Literary Figures and the Time Cover Story’ Journal of American Studies, 29 :349-363 DOI

Internet publication

Moran J. 2020. What is a university now?, Times Literary Supplement Publisher Url

Moran J. 2020. 'Out of Office', Guardian Publisher Url

Moran J. 2020. 'All cities are the same at dawn', Times Literary Supplement Publisher Url

Moran J. 2019. 'Good sentences are why we read', Literary Hub Publisher Url

Moran J. 'How to write the perfect sentence', Guardian, 22 September 2018 Publisher Url

Moran J. 'Why you should read this article slowly', Guardian, 15 September 2018


Moran J. 2020. If You Should Fail A Book of Solace Penguin UK 9780241988114 Publisher Url

Moran J. 2019. First You Write a Sentence. The Elements of Reading, Writing ... and Life. Penguin UK 9780241978504 Publisher Url

Moran J. 2017. Shrinking Violets: The Secret Life of Shyness Yale University Press. New Haven

Moran J. 2016. Shrinking Violets: A Field Guide to Shyness Profile Books. London 978-1781252635

Moran JP. 2013. Armchair Nation: An Intimate History of Britain in Front of the TV Profile Books. London 9781846683916

Moran J. 2010. Queuing for Beginners The Story of Daily Life From Breakfast to Bedtime Profile Books 9781847650658

Moran J. 2010. Interdisciplinarity Routledge 9780415560061

Moran J. 2009. On Roads: A Hidden History Profile. London 978-1846680601

Moran J. 2005. Reading the Everyday Taylor & Francis 9780415317092

Moran J. 2000. Star Authors Literary Celebrity in America Pluto Press 9780745315195


Moran J. 2017. Shrinking Violets: A Field Guide to Shyness (audiobook)

Moran J. 2017. Shrinking Violets: The Secret Life of Shyness (audiobook)

Moran J. 2014. 'The slaying of the ice monsters" Five Dials, 31 :36-37

Moran J. 2007. ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ (review essay on Michael Sheringham, Everyday Life: Theories and Practices from Surrealism to the Present) New Formations, 61 :166-171


Moran J. 2013. 'Introduction' Radio Times Cover Story: 90 Years of Classic Covers Immediate Media. London DOI Author Url

Moran J. 2010. ‘From Lime Street to Liverpool: A voyage in pixels, stone and glass’ Faithfull S. Liverpool-to-Liverpool :ix-xi Liverpool University Press. Liverpool

Moran J. 2006. ‘Houses, Habit and Memory’ Smyth G, Croft J. Our House: The Representation of Domestic Space in Modern Culture :27-42 Rodopi. Amsterdam

External PGR examinations performed:

University of Edinburgh, PhD, Meet the Author: The Cult of the Individual in Unconventional Journalism. 2019

University of Queensland, PhD, Courting Controversies: Salman Rushdie, the Novelist and Intellectual Complicities. 2009

Editorial boards:

International Journal of Cultural Studies, Associate Editor. 2016

New Formations, Member of Advisory Board. 2016

International Journal of Cultural Studies, Member of Editorial Board. 2010


British Academy Mid-Career Research Fellowship, British Academy. 2011

Membership of professional bodies:

Fellow, Higher Education Academy. 2010

Fellow, Royal Historical Society. 2010

Teaching qualification:

Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. 1997

Media Coverage:

Appeared at Bath Festival of Literature, Kenilworth Festival, Sheffield Off the Shelf, Words by the Water, Ways with Words, Writing on the Wall and other festivals.

Appeared on Thinking Allowed (BBC Radio 4), Today (Radio 4), Nightwaves (Radio 3), Loose Ends (Radio 4), BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Newstalk (Ireland), Radio 5 Live, BBC World Service, ABC Australian Radio National and other programmes/stations.

Contributor to the Guardian, the Financial Times, the New Statesman, History Today, BBC History Magazine, The Times, Times Higher Education, Radio Times, Literary Review, the Observer and other publications.

Queuing for Beginners, Book of the Week, BBC Radio 4 May 2007; On Roads, Longlisted for BBC Samuel Johnson Prize 2010; Shrinking Violets, Book of the Week, BBC Radio 4 August 2016.


British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, 2011-12, British Academy.